We had magnificent weather during our trip to Washington D.C. in April. I wanted to enjoy the outdoors. A friend living in the area suggested that we visit Great Falls Park. He stressed that the Maryland side is much nicer than the Virginia side (there are parks on both sides of the Potomac River; one is in Maryland and one in Virginia). When we we got to the Olmsted Island Overlook and saw the Virginian side we realized that it was a good thing we followed our friends advice. It seemed like the views on our side were much nicer and the Virginian side seemed to be much more crowded. We really enjoyed the short hike to the magnificent view of the rushing water and mini waterfalls at the Potomac River.
We pulled up at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor’s Center parking lot. The Visitors Center was closed as was the Canal Boat Ride. We walked along the canal on one side (mostly dried out) and the beautiful Potomac River on the other side. After walking for a few minutes we turned onto the path that leads to the Olmsted Island Overlook. The path at this point was more boardwalk style and led to a bridge with breathtaking views of the Baby Sister Falls (which is not baby sized at all). On one side of the bridge we saw the waterfall cascading down, on the other side we saw the waterfall continuing down and the river in the background.
We continued on for another few minutes to the Olmsted Island Overlook with the majestic water crashing over the rocks. We admired the view and snapped many pictures before heading back to the parking lot and enjoying lunch at one of the many picnic tables there.
Posted: August 2 , 2023
Information, prices and hours posted here are current as of the posted or updated date. It is advisable to call ahead or check online to confirm hours and prices.
11710 Macarthur Blvd
Potomac, MD 20854
Hours: 7 a.m. until dark.
Great Falls Private Vehicle Pass (valid for 7 days): $20
Admits vehicle holder and up to 15 passengers.
Approximate Distance from:
Brooklyn Bridge: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Lakewood: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Monsey: 4 hours, 10 minutes